Penalty rates decision handed down

time sheet, pay, wageSunday penalty rates will be cut for hospitality, retail and fast food employees, the Fair Work Commission has announced.

Hospitality workers will see their Sunday rates drop from 175 per cent to 150 per cent, while fast food workers will drop from 150 per cent to 125 per cent.

Retail workers face a cut from 200 per cent to 150 per cent for Sunday work

Public holiday rates will also be cut for full-time employees from 250 per cent to 225 per cent.

The Fair Work Commission has agreed with the Productivity Commission’s argument that there are likely to be some “positive” employment effects from a reduction in penalty rates.

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross said Sunday penalty rates would still be higher than for Saturdays.

“Generally speaking, for many workers, Sunday work has a higher level of disutility than Saturday work,” he said on Thursday.

“Though the extent of the disutility is much less than in times past.”

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) supported today’s decision by the Fair Work Commission to reduce Sunday Penalty Rates from double time (200 per cent) to time and a half (150 per cent).

“Reducing these rates from double time to time and a half, will increase retail growth nationally and reduce the unemployment rate in Australia,” said Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA.

“With retailers currently paying employees double time on Sundays, many retailers are forced to close their doors on this day, impeding on growth in the retail sector.”

Zimmerman said given today’s decision to reduce Sunday Penalty Rates to 150 per cent, ARA members have said that they will look at employing more staff on a Sunday as it is their busiest trading day of the week.

“Sunday wages have previously been detrimental to Australian retailers, as many employers could only afford to roster one staff member on this day,” said Zimmerman.

The ARA believes this reduction will increase employment of young people who are currently seeking weekend work, as more stores will be able to open on Sundays and have more staff working at these times.

 Zimmerman said reducing Sunday rates from double time to time and a half will give employers approximately 4-5 per cent reduction on wages “which they will be able to reinvest in employing more staff, increasing employment in the retail industry.”

ACTU president Ged Kearney says cutting penalty rates for some Sunday and public holiday shifts will cut the pay of these workers by up to $6,000 a year.

“We do not accept that cutting people’s pay will have a positive benefit on either their lives, their standard of living or the economy,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“You can’t survive on a 20 per cent pay cut,” she said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could fix it if he acted straight away to protect the take-home pay of every single person affected by the decision, she said.



  1. Peter posted on February 23, 2017

    What is the point of a fair work commission if the union wants the government to interfere in the decision, typical of their mentality. There are many workers that want to work on a Sunday and public holidays because it suits them but the opportunities are not there as small business cannot afford them, so everyone loses. By not having a job certainly will effect their standard of living. reply

  2. Woofer posted on February 23, 2017

    If you think business is going to hire more people. Think again this will go straight to the bottom line and the share holder. reply

  3. Johno posted on February 23, 2017

    I am not sure the cut in penalty rates will "hurt" as many as expected and at the same time, it will not suddenly see a lot more young people employed. My son has worked for at least 6 small hospitality outlets (some well known) over his 3 year stint at Uni, only one of them paid penalty rates on the weekend. The rest paid a flat rate, regardless of day/time. And no, it was not a huge rate, they ranged from $17 to $22/hr. For these workers, and employers, nothing will change. reply

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